Kicking it into High Gear

I don’t really know where to start. It’s been a long long time since I sat before this screen with this empty blog-post form in front of me.

Too long.

I’ve been very hard at work on my new project and it’s been very rewarding. But also a big big time user-upper. So much so that when I stopped by here just the other day, I couldn’t believe that it had been almost 2 months since I posted anything at all, and even longer since I put up a real recipe.

Today is not the day when I come back, raring to go with a bellyful of recipes, though I do anticipate having slightly more for that time in the near future. Fingers crossed.

Today is the day that I take a quick moment of your time to hype the truck and ask for your support so that we can get rolling.

I like to think of the truck as a natural extension of the recipes I’ve been sharing here for over a year. They’re fresh, natural and as whole as possible. They taste good, and they feel good to eat. They make me happy.

The truck itself makes me so happy, I could burst. When I see the bright green paint and the quirky smiling front end, I feel giddy, and I want that feeling for everyone who eats our food. I want to take that good feeling and spread it all over the Pacific Northwest that I love to call home.

But first, we need to get started actually serving that food.

After an incredibly successful summer full of new friends and happy bellies, we’re headed into the final stretch. We’ve put together a project on Kickstarter that you should check out. If you can support the project financially, that’s awesome. And if you can help us spread the word so that our campaign is a success–that’s even better.

Head over to the project page on Kickstarter and take a look, then tell everyone who loves good food, the Pacific Northwest, and community to take a look too. Because that’s what this project is all about.

Go Big Or Go Home

I have about a million things I want to share with you. Recipes, photos, ideas. I’ve been working on Thanksgiving and summer at the same time, and a million other things.

I’ve been making jam, and getting ready for pickles season to begin in earnest. I’ve been drinking a lot of delicious smoothies and unsweetened coffee. I’ve been working on my tan and somehow finding time to read the books I’m obsessing over (while brushing my teeth, while stirring the jam, etc.).

I’ve been cooking a lot of recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty, and it’s going a long ways towards building the anticipation for our upcoming trip to Israel. I like to think it’s what’s been keeping me on track with getting my eating habits back in order. I’m also hoping that Lilli decides she really likes Israeli food because right now she is being a super picky toddler and it’s Driving. Me. Crazy.

I’ve been berry picking at least once a week for the last 3 weeks with quarts of frozen berries to show for it, and I’ve been harvesting fennel pollen like crazy so far with little success. Not sure what’s up with that.

The truck has been taking a lot of my time. Between getting it all gutted and looking at appliances, scouting the markets looking for likely vendors for our raw ingredients, catering weddings, and recipe testing, it’s been a busy month indeed. I hope you don’t hate me for neglecting you, but a very wise friend once said to me “never apologize” so I’m not going to. I’m just going to tell you that it will all be worth it in the end.

Those tomatoes? They are the best. We served them at the wedding we catered last weekend (for which I also did the cakes–yes, 4 of them–and am kicking myself for not taking time to photograph). I got the recipe from Ashley Rodriguez who writes Not Without Salt, and it’s the best way to eat heirloom tomatoes that I have ever come across in my whole life. I can’t wait for all the tomatoes in the front yard to start getting ripe so I can devour them bathed in fragrant vanilla. They’ll probably all start getting ripe while we’re in Israel so my sister–who’s house-sitting for us– will be the lucky one who gets the first harvest.

This week James (my biz partner) and I put up about 40 lb worth of nectarine jam. It’s divine. It’s chunky and fruity. I can’t wait to serve it on some warm toasty skillet cake in a cozy little brown box off the truck. I can’t wait for that window to slide open with a sign hanging next to it that says “Come and get it!”

In the meantime we’re preparing for back to back dinners this weekend–our first matched set. We’ve been selling them all out, and are planning a brunch in September that we’re super excited for. There are few spots left for each date next month, so if you’re interested you should get on the list ASAP.

This is what’s been on my mind for the last 2 days, though, so I’ll share it with you. We’ve been eating a lot of nectarines lately–I think they’re way better than peaches, and consequently can’t get enough of them. Neither can Lilli. She’s been eating like 3 a day, if she can get away with it. This incarnation of jam is very simple, though it does require some patience. If you don’t want to spend so much time slaving away, you can always make a berry jam and just add the lemon zest to that as well, it will be just as nice.

Nectarine Jam with Lemon

6 heaping cups nectarines cut into 1″ chunks
3 cups sugar
zest from one organic lemon plus juice

Add the fruit, sugar, and zest to a large heavy pot over high heat and stir it all up. Bring it to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Once it’s really boiling, set a timer for 30 minutes and come back to stir it every couple of minutes. Towards the end this becomes almost constant stirring–you don’t want to fruit to start sticking to the bottom of the pan or all the sugars will burn. After 30 minutes, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Put into hot sterile jars and process 15 minutes in a water bath for pint jars. This batch will make about 3 pints with a little bit leftover for your toast the next morning.

This is Happening

I’m about to do something so crazy, it might just work.

Real Talk: I am starting a food truck here in Seattle.

More Real Talk: I have never driven a truck except one time I drove a sort of big moving van like 6 blocks. Also, I lost my drivers license so there’s that. I guess I should go to the DOL. I hate that place…

Anyway.

My buddy James and I are going on this big adventure together, and I want you all to come with us. The dinners? That’s our first stop. They are a way for us to get our name out there this summer while we’re building the truck up.

This truck. The truck that will become How Pickle Got Out Of A Jam.

We drove up to Edison (sort of Bellingham-ish if you’re familiar with the area at all) and bought it. It’s old–a ’79–and such a lovely hunk of junk that we kind of fell in love with it, rust and all.

We named the truck Alan after the mechanic who checked it out and said it was a good deal for an old beauty. Even though he said the truck is obviously a lady. Alan just seemed right.

Then we had beers and celebrated the first step in a long journey.

I’ve added a page here on Kernels and Seeds with dates for dinners and for truck updates, but there’s also a tumblr for her, and you can follow us on twitter too. We’ll try to update as we go, but in the meantime drop me a line if you’d like to come and meet this beauty in person–she’ll be living at my house, where the dinners will be held.

We’d so love to have you–James, Alan, and me. Until then, wish us luck!